Friday, May 27, 2011

E-Anthology Access

It's almost time for Summer Institute!

When you're ready to start using the 2011 E-Anthology click here to visit the National Writing Project site. On the right side of the page, you'll see a login box for NWP Interactive (NWPi), which you've already signed up for.

Log in using the NWPi username and password you created for yourself. This will take you to your NWPi dashboard where you can access the 2011 E-Anthology.

Happy writing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

E-Anthology Registration

The National Writing Project created the E-Anthology as an online forum for participants around the country to interact with other professionals and get feedback that can build both writing skills and writing instruction.

All 2011 Longleaf fellows will use the e-anthology as part of Summer Institute activities. Please follow the instructions below prior to the first day of institute to get signed up:

  • Register for NWPi. Here, you'll enter your name and email address and also choose a username and password, which you'll need in order to log in each time. Be sure to choose our writing project site (Longleaf Writing Project - Alabama) so that you are affiliated correctly before you click Submit Registration.
  • Once you've established your NWPi account, I'll be able to register you for the e-anthology.
  • I will send you an email confirmation once you are registered and ready to go for the summer.
If you have any questions about getting registered, please let me know via email, and I'll be happy to assist you. You can also view the slideshow below to learn more about the e-anthology.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Upcoming Post Requests

Had a great time presenting the Twitter workshop for today's LWP Pre-Institute! Click here for a copy of the workshop handout (PDF).

Based on our discussion at the workshop, upcoming posts will address the use of the following resources for the classroom:

Edmodo - a social networking / class management tool
Glogster - resource for creating interactive online posters
Sqworl - visual bookmarking tool
Twiducate - social networking for schools

If there are other tools or resources you'd like to learn more about, or if you're interested in sharing a classroom experience here on the blog, let me know in the comments.

Twitter in the Classroom

Today's LWP Pre-Institute workshop example dealt with using Twitter as a part of writing instruction. An article in yesterday's New York Times entitled "Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media" offers a look at how several classroom teachers use Twitter with their students in order to increase participation in class discussions, and the topic has been met with both positive feedback and concerns. The NYT Learning Network has provided a forum for commenting on social media in the classroom, which you can check out here.

What is your response to the article and the posted comments? Feel free to share your thoughts here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Teaching to the Text Message

Andy Selsberg, an English teacher at John Jay College, recently wrote the following as part of an op-ed piece in The New York Times:

I don’t expect all my graduates to go on to Twitter-based careers, but learning how to write concisely, to express one key detail succinctly and eloquently, is an incredibly useful skill, and more in tune with most students’ daily chatter, as well as the world’s conversation. The photo caption has never been more vital.

Selsberg does not suggest eliminating more lengthy pieces from the syllabus, but does outline a variety of short compositions he assigns to his students, from YouTube video comments to Amazon product reviews, and notes that "short isn't necessarily a shortcut."

What do you think? Is there value in short, real-world assignments such as these? Can they provide students with opportunities to practice language skills that longer assignments can't?

Google Reader in the Classroom

As mentioned in the last post, Google Reader can bring class-specific content right to you. Here are some ideas that I have used in my own teaching:

Require Student Sign-Up
  • Google Reader SSR Time: If you have lab time available, consider getting your students signed up and subscribing to sites that appeal to their interests. All sorts of sites have readily accessible RSS feeds, so whether they're interested in sports, fashion, gadgets, comics, movies, cooking, or any other topics, students will be able to find something that suits them. This can provide content for a variety of writing activities.
  • Current Events Sharing: Share relevant news stories with all students for class discussion. Teachers can share stories themselves or ask students to share then have all students write about the discussions that follow.
  • Resource Sharing for Research: Students can share items among themselves when working on research projects.
This video explains how to start sharing via Google Reader:

Require Teacher-Only Sign-Up
  • Student Blog Following: If students write their own blogs for completing class assignments, subscribe to those blogs for easy access and evaluation. You'll be updated each time they post something new.
  • Google Reader Center: Computer access for all students may not always be possible. If only one computer is available, consider using Google Reader as part of a computer center. Teachers can select subscriptions relevant to class content or students' interests, and students can read the stories in recently updated feeds during center time. These readings can lead to writing activities.
  • Worldwide Blog Access: Teachers can subscribe to other classroom blogs from around the world and share what's going on in those classrooms with their own students. This might even be the jumping-off point for collaborating with a classroom in another country.
Google Reader can also be one of the best tools for professional development, as it allows teachers to see what their peers around the country and throughout the world are thinking about best practices and the tools that make classroom instruction better.

If you have an idea for using Google Reader in the classroom or know of a great site to follow, please post a comment to share!